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Pet travel
The sherpa bag was designed as an alternative to hard kennels

Want to take your pet?

Get the details on flying with Fido or Fluffy

November 11, 1998
Web posted at: 1:41 p.m. EDT (1341 GMT)

(CNN) -- If you don't want to leave home without your pet, you can take steps before your trip to take the anxiety out of the situation.

Pets can travel with most airlines either as a carry-on or in cargo as checked luggage. One exception is Southwest Airlines, which only accepts assistance animals.

Although rules for pet travel vary by airline, there are a few basics:

  • You need to make advance reservations. Most airlines allow one pet per plane in the passenger cabin but permit more animals in cargo.

  • It will cost $50 to $100 per pet, one way.

  • Your pet must be at least 8 weeks old, fully weaned and have a clean bill of health from a veterinarian.

  • Pets must be carried in USDA-approved hard or soft animal kennels.

    alternative pet travel
    Find out about alternatives to tranquilizers and pet-friendly hotels

    Airlines didn't always let pets fly. Gayle Martz, a former flight attendant, persuaded airlines to change pet travel rules.

    "I knew the anxiety that people went through (when they) wanted to take their pets with them," she said.

    Martz designed the "sherpa bag," a soft alternative to hard kennels that is approved as a carry-on.

    "Sherpa bags all conform to the underneath-the-seat dimensions on an airplane, so the animal can have more room. They've got mesh panels for ventilation," she said. "It's lightweight. It gives them a private den that they can travel in where they're safe and secure."

    Pet owners also should remember that the weather can complicate matters. Last summer, United and Delta banned pet travel in cargo because of extreme heat. American and Northwest restrict pet travel in cargo when the temperature climbs above 85 degrees or falls below 45 degrees.

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